This comprehensive, interdisciplinary monograph will deal with many aspects of the San Lorenzo basilica, extending from its foundation as Florence’s palaeochristian cathedral to the modern era. Florence's Basilica di San Lorenzo, the city’s first cathedral and the center of liturgical patronage of the Medici and their grand ducal successors from the late Trecento until the nineteenth century, is one of the most frequently studied churches in Florence. Modern studies have tended, however, to focus on limited and specific aspects of the complex, and the lion’s share of research published since the nineteenth century deals with the period from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo, or from Cosimo il Vecchio to Cosimo I. The San Lorenzo project has already produced a conference, held at I Tatti on 27-30 May 2009, and a series of sessions at the 2010 annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. Energies are now focused on the monograph, with chapters that address a broad range of questions. These include the urban setting of the churches and the parish, San Lorenzo's relations with other ecclesiastical institutions, the individual buildings, the clergy, chapels and altars, the chapter's administration and financial structure, liturgical furnishings, music, liturgy, preaching, the demographics of parish life, and the annual or ephemeral festal practices on the site. Each chapter will offer an extensive exploration of its topic, wide-ranging in its historical scope and wherever possible dealing not merely with brief moments of history but with the longue durée. Each will include new research, the publication of relevant documents, and a careful critical assessment of the historiography.
The Renaissance marked a turning point in Europe’s relationship to Arabic thought. On the one hand, Dag Nikolaus Hasse argues, it was the period in which important Arabic traditions reached the peak of their influence in Europe. On the other hand, it is the time when the West began to forget, and even actively suppress, its debt to Arabic culture. Success and Suppressiontraces the complex story of Arabic influence on Renaissance thought.
It is often assumed that the Renaissance had little interest in Arabic sciences and philosophy, because humanist polemics from the period attacked Arabic learning and championed Greek civilization. Yet Hasse shows that Renaissance denials of Arabic influence emerged not because scholars of the time rejected that intellectual tradition altogether but because a small group of anti-Arab hard-liners strove to suppress its powerful and persuasive influence. The period witnessed a boom in new translations and multivolume editions of Arabic authors, and European philosophers and scientists incorporated—and often celebrated—Arabic thought in their work, especially in medicine, philosophy, and astrology. But the famous Arabic authorities were a prominent obstacle to the Renaissance project of renewing European academic culture through Greece and Rome, and radical reformers accused Arabic science of linguistic corruption, plagiarism, or irreligion. Hasse shows how a mixture of ideological and scientific motives led to the decline of some Arabic traditions in important areas of European culture, while others continued to flourish.